Tis the season for all things love: candlelit dinners, bouquets of roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate – you know the shtick. In a business sense, love and brand advocacy are interchangeable. You want your customers/clients/patrons/visitors/whoever-your-target-audience-is to feel an affinity for your company. I’ve found that the best way to do this is creating a face-to-face opportunity for your “fans” to engage with you.
In the spirit of this Hallmark holiday, let’s talk about the four ways you can use events to make yourself a lovable business.
#1: Create memory-making moments
The goal of any kind of event is to build an experience that your attendees will remember. This applies to events of any size! Just because you’re throwing an informational panel session about insurance rather than a weekend carnival doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be memorable.
How can you do this? Include small photo-ops, create something with the audience or provide valuable takeaway materials. You are a unique business – make sure the attendees walk away from your event with something that’s uniquely you.
#2: Never let anyone leave empty-handed
Chances are, you won’t be showing up to your romantic Valentine’s Date without a gift of some sort. (You could, but… I wouldn’t recommend it.) You’ve spent all of this time planning this special day, making a great impression, courting your “dates” throughout the event, now it’s time to give your attendees something to remember you by.
The gift doesn’t have to be a huge expense, but plan to have each person walk away with something other than a full belly. Here are some good rules of thumb:
- Choose gifts someone would actually use. Consider a car charger, a reusable grocery bag, a pint glass, etc.
- Or choose gifts related to the theme of the event. Think through the theme of the event. Is there a practical gift that you can brand and hand out?
- Limit the logo usage/branding. I’m 100% supportive of a branded item, but please do it tastefully. The logo doesn’t need to swallow the gift; they’ll remember who it’s from.
- Your gift can be educational! Instead of doing a promotional item that doesn’t align with the mission behind your event, consider doing a helpful How-To Guide that relates to your company’s services.
#3: Make everyone feel at home
For me, this one is a no-brainer but can often be what events lack the most. If you’ve ever been to a party where you don’t know anyone, you know what an awkward and uncomfortable feeling that is. Yes, you need to make sure that all stations are manned. You also need some event support floating around to make sure that everyone feels welcome, knows where to go and what to expect, and has their questions answered. The easiest way to do that? Have a greeter (or two) at the entry of the event. Depending on the event size, you may even want an information table so guests can get the lay of the land.
#4: Don’t forget to make a second date.
YOU’VE DONE IT! You just threw the greatest event of all time. Now, you need to keep that momentum going. The girl of your dreams isn’t going to fall in love with you the first time you meet her. You’ve got to keep that conversation going and plan other times to meet-up. It’s no different with businesses. (Sorry, I really went for that annoying dating parallel.)
Here are two ways keep that connection going:
- Get social. Social media is a great way to keep the conversation going long after the glow of the event fades away. Not sure how? Read this blog on the Three Ways Social Media can Take Your Event Planning to the Next Level.
- Throw another event. You can’t coast on the success of one event forever. Budget might be an issue, but try to plan smaller more intimate events that bring more value to a loyal attendee.
We’ve worked with Lennar Homes for its events for years. When we’re opening a new community, we go BIG. Food trucks, live music, face-painting, games, the whole sha-bang. Then, a few months later we plan much smaller events for the residents who’ve moved in: movie nights, afternoon crafting events, or other smaller activities. The large event got thousands of people into to model homes, but those smaller events made the residents love the community and refer it to friends and family. Those personal referrals have turned into huge sales for the company.
You love events as much as I do now, right? I hope the wheels are turning and you’re thinking of ways to make your next event your best event.
Happy Valentine’s Day!